Competition: update on Microsoft's compliance with March 2004 Decision
European Commission - MEMO/06/445 23/11/2006
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Brussels, 23rd November 2006
The European Commission can confirm that Microsoft has submitted a revised version of the Technical Documentation with a view to meeting the requirements of the Commission’s March 2004 Decision (see IP/04/382 and MEMO/04/70). That Decision ordered Microsoft, among other things, to disclose and license complete and accurate interface documentation which would allow non-Microsoft work group servers to achieve full interoperability with Windows PCs and servers. The Decision required Microsoft to supply the relevant complete and accurate interface documentation within four months (i.e. July 2004).
In December 2004, the Court of First Instance (CFI) rejected a request from Microsoft to suspend the application of the March 2004 Decision. Microsoft subsequently committed to and missed a number of deadlines for delivering complete and accurate specifications.
Potential licensees can now review the Technical Documentation that Microsoft has made available in order to evaluate whether it contains the necessary information to allow the development of interoperable work group server operating system products. In parallel, the Monitoring Trustee will test the documentation in order to verify its accuracy. The Commission will decide in due course whether or not Microsoft is in compliance with the obligation to provide complete and accurate Technical Documentation taking into account comments from the potential licensees and advice from the Trustee.
On 12 July 2006, the European Commission imposed a penalty payment of €280.5 million on Microsoft for its continued failure to comply with the obligation to provide complete and accurate Technical Documentation (see IP/06/979 and MEMO/06/277). Following the 12 July 2006 decision, Microsoft submitted new Technical Documentation on 18 July 2006 and, since then, Microsoft has continued to improve the documentation.
Microsoft’s work has been supervised by the Monitoring Trustee, Professor Neil Barrett, a computer expert suggested by Microsoft and appointed by the Commission to monitor and advise the Commission on Microsoft’s compliance with the March 2004 Decision (see MEMO/06/119).
The Commission also decided on 12 July 2006 that should Microsoft continue to fail to comply with its obligations to (i) provide complete and accurate Technical Documentation of the interface information and (ii) make that information available to licensees at a reasonable and non-discriminatory price, the amount of the daily penalty payment to which Microsoft could be subject would be increased from up to €2 million to up to €3 million per day with effect from 31 July 2006.
Further information on this case is available at: http://ec.europa.eu/competition/antitrust/cases/microsoft/index.html